Going for a swim

Lynni2

Pretoria, South Africa

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Artist's Description

This photo was taken just as you drive out of the Malelane gate at the Kruger National Park in January 2011

Camera: Canon EOS 400D; Lens: Sigma 70-300

African elephants are the species of elephants in the genus Loxodonta (Greek for ‘oblique-sided tooth’3), one of the two existing genera in Elephantidae. Although it is commonly believed that the genus was named by Georges Cuvier in 1825, Cuvier spelled it Loxodonte. An anonymous author romanized the spelling to Loxodonta and the ICZN recognizes this as the proper authority.1

Fossil members of Loxodonta have only been found in Africa, where they developed in the middle Pliocene

Elephants have four molars; each weighs about 5 kg (11 lb) and measures about 30 cm (12 in) long. As the front pair wears down and drops out in pieces, the back pair shifts forward, and two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth. Elephants replace their teeth six times. At about 40 to 60 years of age, the elephant no longer has teeth and will likely die of starvation, a common cause of death.

Their tusks are teeth; the second set of incisors become the tusks. They are used for digging for roots and stripping the bark off trees for food, for fighting each other during mating season, and for defending themselves against predators. The tusks weigh from 23–45 kg (51–99 lb) and can be from 1.5–2.4 m (5–8 ft) long. Unlike Asian elephants, both male and female African elephants have tusks.5 The enamel plates of the molars are fewer in number than in Asian elephants

Artwork Comments

  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Lynni2
  • Trish Meyer
  • Lynni2
  • Magriet Meintjes
  • Lynni2
  • Ann  Warrenton
  • Lynni2
  • JaniceMachado
  • Lynni2
  • marella
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